UNICEF Representative meets programme partners in Syunik marz
The field visit focused on UNICEF’s programmes across the marz as well as humanitarian needs
UNICEF Representative in Armenia Christine Weigand visited Syunik marz ahead of World Children’s Day on 19-20 November. A number of meetings were held with children and with partners to discuss UNICEF’s current programmes in the marz as well as humanitarian needs and response to the continued unprecedented challenges faced by Syunik in the past year.
“This was my first opportunity to visit Syunik and interact not only with our partners but also with children in the marz. UNICEF has a long history of working with all partners in Syunik on parental education, strengthening of health services, teacher training and early childhood education. In 2020 and 2021, we expanded that work with the support of our donors to help address the humanitarian needs emerging both as a result of the COVID19 pandemic and then the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
I had the opportunity to visit a school in Tegh community and talk to children and their teachers. They told me about their academic achievements and how every day they build their pathway to their future profession and dreams. But they have also witnessed the shootings near their village from the recent military escalation and parents are struggling to decide whether it is safe to take their children to school or not.
In the same community I also signed a new agreement for the establishment of two additional early learning centers, which will allow children to learn and play, and get ready for starting primary school.
I also talked to civil society representatives, psychologists, social workers and special educators who told me about the challenges children and their families are facing in the marz with accessing rehabilitation and other social services, how the COVID-19 pandemic and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have compromised children’s and caregivers’ mental health. And how the continued insecurity is further exacerbating these challenges.
Every partner that I met with, highlighted the need for stability, safety and security.
While the issues are many and require time and committed work, I also saw hope, strength and determination in the children and people of Syunik.
Special educators in Goris told me how they work together with parents, schools and the municipality to make sure that children with disabilities, including those displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh or in affected border communities continue to have access to education.
Psychologists from Sisian told me how they have worked relentlessly to support the wellbeing and inclusion of children in their community.
In these unprecedented times, it is crucial to continue our joint work for children, making sure that they can access essential social services, including health and education, in a safe and protective environment.
UNICEF globally and here in Armenia is on the ground before, during, and after emergencies, working to reach children and families with lifesaving aid and long-term assistance. I am looking forward to continuing our work with all our national and international partners for the benefit of children in Armenia.”